Grady’s Inaugural Chicago Field Study and Internship Program introduces students to a unique market

Grady’s Inaugural Chicago Field Study and Internship Program introduces students to a unique market

July 24, 2023

This summer, thirteen Grady students participated in the inaugural Chicago Field Study and Internship Program, securing internships in the media and communications industries.

Two students pose for a picture while eating a hot dog in a baseball stadium
Bethany Rodgers (left) and Rebecca Eisenstein (right) enjoy a Chicago hot dog during their time at a White Sox game. (Photo: Bethany Rodgers)

Dr. Jennifer Griffith served as the faculty advisor for the program, and aimed to give students an immersive experience of Chicago as a communication and media hub.

“I was excited to do [this program] because Chicago is such a beautiful and special city,” Griffith said. “I knew the students who joined the program would fall in love with it, just as I did the first time I visited, and as did the many other students I’d taken there on tours.”

The program lasted eight weeks, during which students completed their internships on weekdays, attended a three-hour class on Tuesday nights, participated in agency tours and explored the city through weekend excursions.

Students were placed in internships across the communications field, spanning from small digital marketing shops to large media agencies, including Golin, NewsNation, and Ogilvy.

Once a week, students participated in a seminar class focusing on ideation and the power of big ideas, led by Chelsea Franklin (ABJ ’13). Franklin introduced students to the Chicago market and the networking opportunities within it. Her goal was to provide students with an understanding of the various roles available to them in the Chicago area.

“Chicago is probably a unique place for somebody from Athens to come, but you very quickly find that everyone is so welcoming,” Franklin said.

Students take a selfie in front of the Chicago bean.
From left to right: Ireland Ashburn, Tee Dickinson, Bethany Rodgers, Christian Conte and Kate Mcmahan visited the Cloud Gate sculpture more casually known as “The Bean.”

The first four weeks of the class introduced students to vital soft skills that emphasized techniques for enhancing their critical thinking abilities. They explored topics such as understanding consumer behavior, creating effective collaboration, brainstorming creatively and delivering constructive feedback. At the end of each class, industry experts were invited to share their experiences, shedding light on how they apply these skills in their daily professional lives.

In the latter four weeks, the focus shifted to honing industry-specific hard skills, covering areas like earned media, paid media and experiential marketing. The professionals who visited the class gave insight into what it means to work in industries with these specialties. 

Rebecca Eisenstein, program attendee interning with Golin, said this program has given her a clear understanding of the different opportunities in the AdPR field and boosted her confidence to reach out to professionals in her company.

“Emphasizing collaboration has been crucial in my professional growth,” Eisenstein said. “I find myself constantly engaging with others and brainstorming ideas with my team, rather than working in isolation.”

At the end of each week, students participated in excursions around the city including, riding on an architectural boat tour, going to the Wonder Museum, attending a White Sox game and visiting Chinatown.

5 students pose for a picture in a room lit up with glowing pentagon shapes on the floor, ceiling and walls
The students took a trip to the Wonder Museum and visited the AMES exhibition. (Photo: Rebecca Eisenstein)

“Chelsea knows this city like the back of her hand and has introduced us to different neighborhoods that I would have never thought to explore on my own,” Eisenstein said. “Moreover, it’s just been enjoyable to explore the city in general, given our perfect location for exploration.” 

Both Franklin and Eisenstein encouraged future students to attend the Chicago summer program and expressed their appreciation for the city as a whole. 

“Chicago has so many outlets whether that’s agencies, branding, media, PR or otherwise,” Franklin said. “It’s a place where you can go with a lot of different opportunities.”

Applications for Summer 2024 Chicago Field Study and Internship Program open in Fall 2023, and you can find more information on the program details on our website